Mr. Bijoy Kumar Y, Chief Mahindra Adventure initiatives discuss about Mahindra Adventures and future of Motorsports in India. Motorsports is gaining quite a good popularity in India, especially in last 5 years. More and more OEM’s are coming with their separate motorsports division. Recently we interviewed Jatin Lakra from Tata Motors on occasion of Blaze De Rajasthan. In ongoing series, CarDekho got views from Mahindra Adventure chief on the initiative, its future planes and motorsports in India.
How was the first calendar year for Mahindra Adventure in your opinion?
Bijoy: It was an year of discovery. We had the task of launching the Adventure umbrella brand and taking the original concept of Great Escape to another level. So we did double the number of Great Escapes (20) and launched special multi-day expeditions. Of the latter, the concepts like Monastery Escape and Royal Escape became instant hits with seats filling up even before the event was properly announced.
How different will this year's calendar be in terms of experiences?
Bijoy: This year we are doing a few new things like the Off-road Trophy and the TSD Championship. Apart from that we have added the Tri-nation Escape that pans India, Nepal and Bhutan (14 days), Authentic Goa (six days) and the Wild Escape in the heartland of India. Mahindra Adventure will also launch the first every 4X4 academy in India at Igatpuri where a sprawling track is being built as we speak. And yes, Mahindra Adventure Challenge goes to South Africa this year with the XUV500s! Getting Lost will never be the same again!
Monsoon Challenge was one of the highlights last year. Will it become any bigger this year?
Bijoy: This year the Monosoon Challenge starts from Bangalore and finishes at Goa – even more spectacular route, excellent over night stays and even more rain should make it interesting. And it remains the biggest prize money event in the Indian motorsport calendar. In short it is the mother of all TSD rallies.
After a year's experience, what is Mahindra's opinion on motorsports in India?
Bijoy: We know our strengths when it comes to motorsport and that is participating in rally/raid events. Our diesel powered SUVs are meant for that and as we have proved in Desert Storm and Dakshin Dare, we participate to win. A rally/raid championship is due though.
Do we expect XUV500s to be a part of this year's driving experiences?
Bijoy: We have inducted the XUV500s with AWD in our fleet and of course they will take prime slots in our expeditions this year.
Great Escape has been one of the most successful off-roading events in the country; will this year be more exciting?
Bijoy: With the advent of the off-roading Trophy we will now be rating skill levels of participants – it has not been done before in the Great Escape environment.
Are any major changes done to the Mahindra Adventure vehicles?
Bijoy: While rally/raid cars are extensively modified to make them lighter and quicker (and safer) the Adventure expedition fleet is made up of stock cars – you do get the dressed up Thars and few vehicles sporting R&D bits…like a new ECU or a new shock absorber set up.